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So much hotel news, so little time – here are a few snippets to keep you up to date with the latest news from around the world!
SLS NEW YORK TO OPEN SUMMER 2016 WITH JOSE ANDRES IN THE KITCHEN: SLS New York announced today that it received $109 million financing from Fortress Investment Group for their 190-room luxury lifestyle hotel at 444 Park Avenue South. That's enough change to get their favorite chef José Andrés installed in the kitchen at the hotel. Word is Andrés will bring his The Bazaar by José Andrés concept to the hotel. This marks the third Bazaar for the world but the first JA restaurant in NYC. The hotel should open by Summer 2016.
AND HERE'S WHERE JOSE ANDRES WON'T BE OPENING (OR SO HE HOPES): Andrés recently backed out of opening a restaurant inside the Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C, set to open next year. He did so because of The Donald's unsavory remarks about Mexicans and illegal immigrants. However, Trump won't let him get away so fast. According to a statement from Donald Trump, Jr.: “In the event Mr. Andrés defaults in the performance of his obligations, we will not hesitate to take legal action to recover all unpaid rent for the entire 10 year term together with all attorneys’ fees and additional damages we may sustain. We will also enforce the exclusivity provisions preventing Mr. Andrés from opening a competing restaurant anywhere in the D.C area. Mr. Andrés’ obligations under the lease are clear and unambiguous." Gulp.
HILTON LOS CABOS HAS OFFICIALLY REOPENED: After getting pummeled by Hurricane Odile last September, the Hilton Los Cabos is now back open for business and better than ever. The resort has reimagined culinary concepts, including a swim-up bar; renovated guest rooms; and a new El Sombrero hat shop. In August, the resort will also open its hotel-within- a-hotel concept, called La Vista Club which features 65 Club-level rooms and suites.
The term "resort fee", usually brings to mind unnecessary charges for items and services you don't need such as "free local calls" or "boarding pass printing." What was once limited to actual resort properties in actual resort destinations, has now turned into a means for hotels--whether a sprawling resort with a golf course, spa and water activities or a standard-sized hotel-- to squeeze a little extra cash out of their guests.
In Vegas, resort fees are a way of life for the hotels and casinos that line The Strip and dot Downtown. Even off the Strip places have resort fees now. But more startling than the prevalence of resort fees in Vegas is the unchecked increase of resort fees. MGM Resorts have increased resort fees at their properties at least once a year for the past several years, and sometimes even twice a year. It's truly scary.
Meanwhile, popular beach and desert destinations such as Maui, Miami, Palm Springs and Scottsdale, have also made resort fees a way of (vacation) life. But several hotels have gone a different route with their terminology to describe the added fee that's tacked on per day, plus tax, at their property.
Margaritaville Hotels / Hotel Openings / Resort Fees / Hotel Fees / Jimmy Buffet / Hotel News / Hollywood Hotels / → All Tags
Thirsty for a Margarita...ville hotel stay? Simply call 1-844-5OCLOCK to make your reservation at the brand new Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, opening on October 1.
As we briefly mentioned in September, the beach resort inspired by singer Jimmy Buffett will have 349 rooms, 17 stories, a Margaritaville Landshark Bar & Grill, a License to Chill rooftop bar, the Lone Palm Bar and a 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar. There will also be a 15,000-sq.ft. St. Somewhere Spa and an "authentic 'no worries' tropical vibe" present throughout.
Here are some more details on what to expect after you get drunk and
screw er, relax in your hotel room:
Each of the resort’s 349-rooms will evoke feelings of relaxation and paradise, with coastal-luxe décor. Business and leisure travelers alike will enjoy luxurious bedding with crisp all-white linens, teak-finished furnishings accompanied by subtle maritime accents, spacious walk-in rain showers, 42-inch LCD televisions and clocks with Bluetooth capabilities, ensuring maximum comfort and total relaxation.
Spacious walk-in rain showers with sea glass colored tile, teak vanities topped with vessel sinks and tropical bath potions (rendering above) will create a serene bath experience that is truly transporting. Attention to detail will be expressed in the thoughtfully selected features placed in every guestroom and suite, ensuring each guest enjoys a slice of paradise.
We're assuming cheeseburgers are definitely on the room service menu too.
Ah, Miami. Sun, fun, mojitos and...resort fees?
Yes, sadly most hotels in Miami are charging those dreaded and annoying resort fees. According to ResortFeeChecker.com, 100 hotels in Miami have resort fees and the average fee is around $20.04 a night. That's about the same as Vegas' ubiquitous resort fee average.
But Miami is also home to two resort fees that exceed $100. Yes, you read that right. Those resorts are the Provident Luxury Suites ($107 a night) and The Fisher Island Club (also $107 a night), both of which are located on the extremely ritzy Fisher Island.
We've decided to list the resort fees of some of the most chatted about Miami hotels here on HotelChatter. Hide your wallets!
These fees are per day, plus about 20 percent tax, so the final cost will be a little higher than the number you see here. These fees usually include internet access, and additional amenities and services on site like beach chairs and access to the fitness center. (At the Surfcomber it includes iced coffee!)
But not everyone is charging a resort fee. We applaud the Loews, The W South Beach and The Setai for being resort-fee-free. (Never mind that rooms are hovering at $1,000 alight right now.)
Like the looks of this shower? Don't get too attached.
Could there be any worse news for those of us that love a nice, long, hot shower, especially when we're on the road? We wish this were a bad dream but alas, the days of long showers - in hotels - may soon be over if the EPA has its way.
It appears the government wants to get in the shower with us and monitor how much water we use. A $15,000 grant has been issued to the University of Tulsa to devise a device that will track the water usage per guest room similar to a utility meter. Just the mention of the word "meter" suggests another possible charge to our hotel bill.
The wireless device would be attached to the shower head and transmit data to a central "water gestapo" in the hotel. We're not sure what (or if) adjustments are made based on how many people are sharing a guest room - key word sharing?
Stay near the British Museum and you may see your hotel rate rise
Paris. Rome. Athens. Europe is a continent of hotel taxes – those extra couple of euros tacked onto your stay that go direct to the city – but one place has held out. Until now.
Camden Council in London is considering charging a £1-a-night tax on hotel stays, in order to raise £5m annually to be used for street cleaning in its tourist areas (Camden Town, St Pancras, and even Bloomsbury, around the British Museum).
Hotel Fees / Hotel Policies / Cancellation Policies / Marriott International / Hilton Worldwide / → All Tags
Typically, guests would have until 6pm the day of arrival to cancel their reservation without charge. But starting on January 1, you need to cancel your reservation the day before your scheduled arrival, otherwise you will be charged for one night's room rate. You can read Hilton's reservation rules here and Marriott's online booking terms here. Both sites still cite the individual hotel/deal's cancellation policy rather than a blanket company policy.
Still, we always thought that canceling the day before or at least 24 hours before was actually the normal window for penalty-free hotel cancellations but we guess some hotels were more loosey goosey with cancellations.
Or perhaps Marriott and Hilton were searching for new ways to turn a profit because WiFi is now mostly free?
In August, we were completely pissed off that a hotel outside New York City posted a note on their website about how they would charge guests $500 for leaving a bad review of the place on any online review website. After the policy made national news, the owner backed down saying, "it was just a joke." Of course, we don't believe it was a joke but regardless, the terrible policy has inspired another hotel to do the same thing.
The Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England actually charged two guests 100 pounds for writing a negative review of the hotel online where they called the place a "dirty rotten stinking hovel run by Muppets." (Hey now, no need to involve our beloved Muppets.)
Unbeknownst to the guests, the hotel included their "No bad reviews" policy in the booking documents. Here's what it says:
"Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. "For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review."
Man. This hotel must be raking in money. Go to TripAdvisor and check out all the terrible reviews of the place. It really is a dirty rotten stinking hovel. Following up on this, The Daily Mail pulled some photos from TripAdvisor to further show off the hovel and they are frightening. Doesn't the hotel have health standards it needs to abide by?
However, there will be happy ending. Word is the couple will have their money refunded and the hotel will stop enacting the policy. Now, all it needs is a renovation and for someone to remove those dirty socks from the nightstand drawer.
There's been a lot of talk about hotel fees here lately. We've run down the most annoying fees and we've even had our front desk man weigh in on how to argue your way out of those fees. But now, we've learned of another outrageous fee--for using your credit card. A pretty peeved reader writes in:
Profil Hotels operate the Copenhagen Plazaand on check out charge 5% for paying by credit card. You are not told on checkin that you'd be charged. Incidentally this is unquestionably the worst hotel I've ever stayed in.
We inquired of peeved reader if this was a foreign transaction fee, which is common for U.S. credit cards holders charged by their banks, but he told us that on the folio, it simply reads "Credit card fee." Grrr.
Hotel Fees / Resort Fees / Miami Beach Hotels / Miami Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
While we're on the topic of hotel fees, we've just learned that the Ritz-Carlton South Beach will start charging a $25 resort fee, per night on October 1. Here's what will be included with that extra $25 + tax a night.
· Complimentary 5mb wireless Internet access for up to 5 devices in guest rooms, lobby and most common areas.
· Beach chairs and umbrellas
· Beach Activities including boogie boards, skim boards, beach paddle tennis, bocce ball and corn hole court
· One hour daily fitness class
· 24-hour access to fitness center
· Use of hotel bicycles
· Unlimited local calls
· Bottled water in guest rooms
· Access to daily tour of the hotel’s art collection
Well, at least it includes internet on multiple devices.
Resort fees in South Beach are actually quite common. We stumbled across one at The Surfcomber, a Kimpton Hotel, last fall. For $20 a night, you get morning coffee, two beach chairs, poolside amenities like sunscreen and flavor-infused water and a $10 F&B credit.
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Our former front desk guy has given valuable tips on effectively complaining to the front desk when something goes wrong. Now, he's got a few tips on getting around those pesky hotel fees that pop up from out of nowhere on your bill.
Hotels have been notorious for offering "convenient" products and services, then finding a way to tack on the extra charges to your hotel bill before you leave. According to a recent report, those fees will total up to $2.25 billion for hotels in the U.S. for this year alone.
While some fees and surcharges are unavoidable, i.e. the infamous Javits Convention Center tax in NYC and state and municipal taxes, there are other fees that aren't always clearly marked, like that daily newspaper charge that is actually optional or the pool towel fee that isn't listed anywhere except in small print at the bottom of a sign far away from the pool entrance.
Here are some ways to ensure you avoid these fees and if they are unfairly charged, how to get them removed:
Every so often, the mainstream media gets fired up about hidden hotel fees. This usually happens when it's revealed how much hotels are making off these miscellaneous yet maddening fees. This year it will be about $2.25 billion, according to a new NYU report.
Us, being both regular hotel guests and hotel trend watchers, have become somewhat accustomed, but no less outraged, to the random fees that pop up during a hotel stay.
Back in 2010 we detailed 10 Most Ridiculous Hotel Fees, included the heinous WiFi charges, the confusing room service charges and the annoying resort fees.
The next year, we followed that up with 5 Hotels That Are Acting Like Airlines with Extra Fees and made it clear we did not like the fees for making a reservation over the phone, nor the early check-in fee and certainly not the baggage storage fee.
Just last year, we uncovered more hidden fees, including the fee for the bottled water on the night stand, the towel at the pool and the safe in the closet. And soon after that, we were blindsided by a random newspaper charge. #GRR. Most recently, we uncovered another sinister type of fee creeping around London, the minimum spend fee during peak hours at the bar.
But hotels want to make money, so fees for things you would expect to be free have long been how they do business. The only way to avoid these fees is to assume that everything you use inside your hotel room, save for the water, towels, and toiletries, will cost extra. Study the little notes placed around the room by the hotel, whether it be the mini-bar menu, or the note about WiFi placed on the desk, to see if there is a charge and how much it will be.
And of course, if a fee pops up unexpectedly on your bill, head right down to the front desk to dispute it. Just make sure you know how to effectively complain to them.
[Photo: Cynthia Drescher/HotelChatter]